Other Side: Washington Post's Rick Maese

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
10:29
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys meet the Redskins on Sunday at FedExField, so we check in from The Other Side for a second time this year with Rick Maese of the Washington Post to tell us what has happened this year with Mike Shanahan’s team.

Archer - Dan Snyder hasn't been the most patient owner, so is there any chance that Mike Shanahan could be on the hot seat?

Maese - I think that'd very doubtful at this point. For starters, Shanahan will have three years left on a contract that pays him around $7 million per season. While Snyder has certainly thrown away money on players, he hasn't been as eager to buyout coaches. But I think Snyder has also shown more patience as he's grown as an owner. Shanahan inherited a bad team in just about every way possible. The more likely scenario, I think, is for Snyder to bring in someone to beef up the personnel and scouting departments.

Archer - From the outside the quarterback position has gone horribly wrong. Is that Mike Shanahan's fault? His son's? The players? Are fans calling for Andrew Luck yet?

Maese - Ultimately, Mike Shanahan has final say in personnel decisions, so he has to shoulder the responsibility for the terrible quarterback play. Now, he's certainly taking into consideration what he hears from his coaches, including Kyle Shanahan, his son and offensive coordinator, but at the end of the day, it's his call. I think every human being in the Washington area would be shocked if either Rex Grossman or John Beck is somehow starting Week 1 in 2012. Unfortunately for them, the team's 3-1 start likely eliminated them from the Luck Sweepstakes.

Archer - The Redskins have Tashard Choice on the roster and he said he's playing this week vs. his former team. What type of role is there for him there?

Maese - As bad as quarterback play has been, the team's running game has been even less consistent. The offense is supposed to be built off the running game, and they're on pace to have the worst season running the ball in more than 40 years. So there's an opportunity for Choice. He'll have to show in practice this week that he's picked up Shanahan's system and deserves playing time this Sunday -- not to mention his hamstring needs to be 100 percent.

Archer - It appears the defense is still playing pretty well. How has another ex-Cowboy, Stephen Bowen, done in his first year?

Maese - Despite the Redskins' myriad problems, they feel like they beefed up their front-seven and that certainly seems to be the case through nine games. Bowen has held up well, despite an increase in snaps over last season. Depth is a problem along the defensive line and the Redskins can't afford to be without Bowen at this point.

Archer - So much talk about how bad the season has been, what's been the best thing this year?

Maese - There's been flashes of promise from young players. First-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan should be in the running for rookie defensive player of the year. Rookie tailback Roy Helu set a franchise record with 14 catches in one game, breaking a mark set by Art Monk. Rookie Leonard Hankerson, who went on IR this week, topped 100 receiving yards last Sunday. Rookie Niles Paul is currently sidelined with a toe injury but has shown promise. Second-year linebacker Perry Riley had his first start last week and recorded four tackles for loss. So there are a few bright spots; they're just overshadowed by injuries.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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